Yesterday, the South Carolina Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a suit that was filed by the South Carolina Hospital Association, the South Carolina Health Care Association, and others against the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control for suspending the Certificate of Need (CON) Program.
According to an article in The State newspaper, "The Department of Health and Environmental Control suspended the Certificate of Need program after Governor Nikki Haley vetoed the line item that included funding for it and other DHEC programs. The House sustained that veto, and shortly thereafter, DHEC eliminated the program and staff positions that ran it."
The Petitioners have asked the Court to consider whether DHEC is required to continue administering and funding the Certificate of Need Program even though the General Assembly sustained the Governor's line-item veto of funding for the program in last year's General Appropriations Act.
No time has been given for when the Supreme Court will rule on the matter.
Details from Each Chamber
Truthful Tuesday Arrests
Eleven protestors were arrested Tuesday for blocking the roadway leading into the State House parking garage. A group of about two dozen protestors held signs that said "Expand Medicaid," "Morality is not Partisan" and "Shame." This demonstration was in protest of the state's rejection of Medicaid expansion under the federal Affordable Care Act.
The House spent the week working through their Calendar before budget deliberations begin next week. On Wednesday, the House raised a 24 hour point of order and adjourned debate on most of the controversial bills. The General Appropriations number is H. 4701 and Capital Reserve bill is H. 4702.
Several bills of interest were passed in the House this week:
- H. 3428 First Steps to School Readiness Initiative
- H. 4347 Children's Advocacy Medical Response System Act
- H. 4550 Long Term Health Care Administrators
- H. 4561 Interstate Boating Violator Act
- H. 4574 Environmental Certification Board
- H. 4644 Real Estate Appraisers License and Certification Act
- H. 4788 New Market Jobs Act
- H. 4808 Vaccination, screening and immunization regarding contagious diseases
- S. 19 Bond revocations
The House Majority and Minority Caucuses will meet next Monday at 11:00am. The House will convene at 1:00pm to begin budget deliberations. Speaker Bobby Harrell (R-Charleston) told members to prepare to convene Tuesday and Wednesday at 9:30AM and to stay until they have completed the budget. They will deliberate on the Capital Reserve Fund immediately following the General Appropriations Bill.
The Senate worked through their Calendar this week and received a number of statewide appointments from the Governor.
On Wednesday, several bills were reported out of committee. Senators worked steadily through the Calendar on Thursday in order to get to H.3101, a bill to nullify provisions of the federal Affordable Care Act. However, the Senate adjourned before getting to the bill.
Several bills of interest passed the Senate this week:
- S. 516 SC Read to Succeed Act (Placed in Special Order)
- S. 560 Malicious Injury to Railways
- S. 687 SC Blind Person's Right to Parent Act
- S. 826 Random Drug and Alcohol Testing Procedures for Worker's Comp Insurance
- S. 828 Exempt Bond Reimbursement Requirements if a Convention Center is Sold
- S. 983 Endometriosis Awareness Week
- H. 3410 Transfer Regional Education Centers to the Department of Commerce
The Governor's Office
Winter Weather Response
Governor Nikki Haley has requested a major disaster declaration for 21 counties in South Carolina as a result of the February winter storm. Haley's request for federal funding would cover Aiken, Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Berkeley, Calhoun, Chesterfield, Clarendon, Colleton, Dillon, Dorchester, Edgefield, Florence, Georgetown, Hampton, Horry, Marion, Orangeburg, Saluda, Sumter and Williamsburg Counties.
The Governor's request included $4.3 million suffered by the State, $23.4 million by South Carolina counties and $27.7 million by electric cooperatives.
In her letter to President Barack Obama, Haley reported that snowfall totals ranged from less than an inch in southern counties to as much as 10 inches in the Upstate. Ice accumulation totals ranged from 0.1 to 1.25 inches, with ice coating causing critical infrastructure and debris problems.
Additionally, the General Assembly passed a bill that would allow South Carolina school boards to forgive up to five days of classes missed during recent snow and ice storms. The bill was sent to the Governor this week. She has indicated that she supports the bill since it does not require the districts to forgive the days, but rather provides them with an option.
Newly Introduced Legislation
S. 1069 McGill: TO ENACT THE "PUBLIC SAFETY SALES TAX ACT" - Referred to the Committee on Finance.
S. 1083 Jackson: TO PROVIDE AN INCOME TAX CREDIT TO A TAXPAYER THAT CLAIMS A DEDUCTION ON HIS FEDERAL RETURN FOR A CHARITABLE CONTRIBUTION OF APPARENTLY WHOLESOME FOOD FROM ANY TRADE OR BUSINESS OF THE TAXPAYER - referred to the Committee on Finance.
S. 1085 Campbell: RELATING TO THE USE OF LOCAL SALES AND USE TAX OR TOLL REVENUES TO FINANCE TRANSPORTATION INFRASTRUCTURE IN A COUNTY - Referred to the Committee on Finance.
H. 4875 Funderburk: TO ENACT THE "SOUTH CAROLINA ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT TAX INCENTIVE EVALUATION ACT OF 2014" - Referred to Committee on Ways and Means.
H. 4840 Putnam: SO AS TO ENACT THE "HIGH SCHOOL EQUIVALENCY DIPLOMA ACCESSIBILITY ACT" - Referred to Committee on Education and Public Works.
H. 4817 J. E. Smith: RELATING TO THE REGISTRATION OF WITHDRAWAL OF SURFACE WATER FOR AGRICULTURAL USES - Referred to Committee on Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs.
H. 4866 Bedingfield: SO AS TO PROVIDE THAT WITH RESPECT TO THE SOUTH CAROLINA UNDERGROUND FACILITY DAMAGE CONTROL PREVENTION ACT, EXEMPTED OPERATORS MAY ELECT TO NOT JOIN CERTAIN ASSOCIATIONS CONCERNING THE WATER AND SEWAGE SYSTEMS OF THE EXEMPTED OPERATORS - Referred to Committee on Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs.
S. 1088 Verdin: RELATING TO THE SUPERB ACCOUNT AND THE SUPERB FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY FUND ESTABLISHED TO ASSIST IN CARRYING OUT THE PURPOSES OF THE STATE UNDERGROUND PETROLEUM ENVIRONMENTAL RESPONSE BANK ACT - Referred to the Committee on Medical Affairs.
S. 1086 Hayes: RELATING TO PROVIDING NOTICE OF A BREACH OF SECURITY OF STATE AGENCY DATA - Referred to the Committee on Judiciary.
S. 1089 Davis: RELATING TO THE CESSATION OF MARINE TERMINAL OPERATIONS AND THE SALE OF PROPERTY AT PORT ROYAL - Referred to the Committee on Transportation.
S. 1077 Hembree: TO ENACT THE STATE HEALTH CARE CHOICE ACT - Referred to the Committee on Medical Affairs.
S. 748 Cleary: SO AS TO BE ENTITLED "IMMUNITY FROM LIABILITY FOR PROVIDING FREE HEALTH CARE SERVICES" - Referred to Committee on Judiciary.
H. 4872 Neal: SO AS TO ENACT THE "SOUTH CAROLINA MEDICAL MARIJUANA ACT" - Referred to Committee on Judiciary.
H. 4879 Rutherford: SO AS TO ENACT THE "SOUTH CAROLINA MEDICAL MARIJUANA ACT" - Referred to Committee on Judiciary.
S. 764 Alexander: SO AS TO CREATE THE VULNERABLE ADULT GUARDIAN AD LITEM PROGRAM WITHIN THE OFFICE ON AGING - Referred to Committee on Judiciary.
H. 4828 Pitts: RELATING TO DEFINITIONS PERTAINING TO THE RETIREMENT SYSTEM FOR JUDGES AND SOLICITORS - Committed to Committee on Ways and Means.
H. 4845 Daning: RELATING TO THE OFFENSE OF FELONY DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE - Referred to Committee on Judiciary.